Monday, February 24, 2014

Locales: Dakon-Bar

Dakon-Bar, also known as Dragonwood, is one of the petty kingdoms that make up the lands of Evandar. The forest that covers vast tracts of this land's rolling hills gives this kingdom its name. It reaches up into the foothills of the mountains that are the border between Dakon-Bar and Tarsus and to the edges of the plain that is in Aelethmer. The Shadowmere river runs north to south, marking the western boundary between Aelethmer and Dakon-Bar.

To the east, Dakon-Bar reaches to the borders of Ranyth. The city of Farden marks one of the most prosperous routes. A stone road runs from Dragonwood keep, the seat of the king of this petty kingdom to Farden. At Farden, another road runs north, leading to Tarsus and Tor Caldri, the seat of the High Council. Other unpaved roads wind through the heavily forested terrain.

These roads connect the open spaces carved out from the dense wood where the nobles beholden to the king live and the peasantry do their best to get by. Within the wood, there are bands of outlaws and the clanless and rejected. Travel between the villages and towns is at times dangerous and challenging, despite the fact that the largest confederation of bands known as the Foresters has moved from being a criminal element to something of a vigilante force that serves to enforce some measure of order on these more or less lawless places.

In the western and southern regions of Dakon-Bar, the forests thin out and there is a great many farms. This is predominantly where the grain that forms a significant portion of the trade of Dakon-Bar with the Evandari kingdoms of Aelethmer and Moesia is produced. Dakon-Bar trades heavily with Tarsus in lumber and grain, though more emphasis is placed upon lumber. Fur trade is strong in Dakon-Bar but it is firmly regulated by guilds.

Unlike the southern and western Evandari kingdoms, Dakon-Bar does not have much in the way of sumptuary laws. While the variety of colors worn by the people of Dakon-Bar does increase as one moves higher in the social strata, the restrictions are few. The Foresters are known for wearing the colors green, gray, and brown. The people of the northern regions of Dakon-Bar tend to wear plaids reflecting the families they are descendant from. The peasantry of Dakon-Bar wear mostly undyed clothing or own very few pieces of dyed clothing (usually serving as special occasion clothes). The nobles and merchants of Dakon-Bar wear a greater variety of colors and fabrics as markers of their wealth. They will also clothe the people of their households in garments that reflect their membership of a wealthy person's household.

Horses are found in Dakon-Bar mainly in the western and southern regions. The wealthy of the kingdom, however, will own them because they are markers of high status. Cattle are found in the southern and western regions of Dakon-Bar. In the northern and eastern regions, goats, pigs, and mules are found as livestock. There is also an overabundance of deer in the forested regions.

Bears are said to roam the northern portion of Dakon-Bar. Wild boar are also found in this region. The wild deer of Dakon-Bar have antlers upon both sexes. Some have domesticated them and trained them to the saddle. Wolves are problematic in the southern and western portions of Dakon-Bar, known for harrying the sheep and cattle. In the northern and eastern portions of this petty kingdom, wolves are a necessary part of the system because they help control the deer population.

Unfortunately, the large predators of wolves and bears are not as prevalent in this part of Dakon-Bar for reasons unknown. Nobles have placed a ban upon hunting bear, but some of the people in northern Dakon-Bar will do so. Rumors and local folklore speak of a dragon living within the deep wood. This is not something that has been substantiated. Local folklore also speaks of a female figure (considered by some to be an avatar of the goddess Roen) known as the Gray Lady.

The Gray Lady pops up in the mythos of Dakon-Bar as a wise adviser of kings and nobles. She is always spoken of wearing gray and coming in the hour of greatest need. The Gray Lady is always described as coming out of the forest and usually reputed to have some sort of charmed way with the animals. It is said that the fiercest of wolves will behave like a beloved pet dog, responding to commands by the Gray Lady and allowing her to fondle and pet them with impunity.

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